Virgin Australia close to launching inflight Wi-Fi trial

Virgin Australia logoVirgin Australia has revealed plans to offer its passengers inflight Wi-Fi by connecting to Optus satellites on domestic and New Zealand flights.

Global network providers Intelsat and SES will be used to supply satellite services on Gogo 2Ku-equipped international flights.

The airline says it will begin a three-month trial next month on a single Boeing 737-800, with the installation of Gogo’s 2Ku system across its full fleet of 737-800s, 777s and Airbus A330s later.

Virgin said passengers can connect their devices to the internet free of charge during the three-month trial, but has made no decision on future costs after that.

Virgin Australia

John Thomas, Virgin Australia Airlines Group Executive, said: “Virgin Australia guests will soon be able to stay connected with their family, friends and colleagues on board.

“We are confident that by working with Gogo and Optus Satellite and using their proven technology we can deliver the best possible and most reliable connectivity and entertainment experience in the air.”

Last week Gogo issued a statement about its 2Ku deployment.

It said: “The technology is already on a pretty decent chunk of the Delta fleet, and several of our international airline partners are also flying with large portions of their fleets dedicated to Gogo 2Ku.

“As we slowly move into Spring, we’re excited to announce that we now have over 150 aircraft equipped with 2Ku.

“This is once again a major milestone, and we’d like to take the time to call out many of the teams out in the field that make this happen – especially our global logistics center, where we’ll be shipping over 1500 ‘kits’ in the next two years.”

The Gogo system uses a two-element flat-panel phased-array antenna to beam-form onto a Ku-band satellite. “Get Connected tested 2Ku in April 2016.

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